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MikeHolbrook
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I believe there is a church for you. I left a traditional church and went without a church for a long period of time. One day I saw in our local newspaper that a group called the Christian Motorcyclists Association was having a special service at a local church. Since I ride a bike, I was drawn to this. Several stumbling blocks were in my way the morning of the service but I made it in. The church was a small nondenominational Bible based church. I attended that church for a year and hardly ever missed a service. I also joined the Christian Motorcyclists Association.
After a year I was becoming restless at this church and was not sure what I should do. Our town has a bike fest the first Saturday in June and I was there ministering from the CMA tent. Several people that stopped by to talk invited me to their church and the last one to invite me pulled out a brochure and handed it to me. That Sunday morning I went on a long ride before church and ended up close to the church I had been invited to attend. I rode in instead of going to my regular church. I'm still there. Freedom Biker Church has become a home to me.
I know the Holy Spirit brought me there. As you pray be sure to listen and go where the Spirit leads.
I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

Mike
Mike Maturen
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Well, as long as we are recommending specific churches, I will go ahead and recommend this one for you:

http://www.allsaintsparish.com/
Mike Maturen
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AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

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Robert P.
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Really good stuff in this thread, it's good to see everyone chime in and be so encouraging to Steven.

I also think RobFromNZ had some great advice, he said it much better and to the point than I ever could.
ClintonMagus
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Interestingly, the daughter and son-in-law of a sweet couple in our church are looking for a church home in Puyallup right now.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
Lseeyou
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Hi Steven,

So glad to hear that you are turning again to Father.
You will find peace and joy soon brother because He has His open arms to you.

in Christ,
Elcio

from PORTUGAL
DoctorCognos
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I am old white guy. And I have terrific bible teaching mega church as my home church.

But I find that lately they have given up on the old classic worship music, and going a bit too much "contemporary" for me.

But I still enjoy the fellowship and Bible study groups that our church offers.

Occasionally though, I visit our sister Church, that relationship brought about years ago through the relationship between our senior Pastor, and theirs. That church is a predominantly black church, seating around 500 or so at each of three services. I love the free and open worship style of the music, and get solid bible teaching during the preaching.

Don't feel that just because you go a church this Sunday, that you are committed to that Church. If it doesn't feel right, and your spirit is grieved rather than filled, don't waste your time. When you do find a Church, it will feel like home.

A Church is a reflection of the Pastor's relationship with God. Find one that welcomes you, before they they even how great a person you are ;-)..... If you can walk in, and nobody says WELCOME, then it probably is a self absorbed Pastor and Church.

When I was new Christian, I went to the biggest Christian Church I could find, and I intended to hide, because I thought that the best that I would be, is the best bad example of a man that they would would ever see. And I figured that I could hide among so many people. I went in through the massive front doors, and there were four other rather "main" entrances. But mixing in as best I could, and crowding in through the three double glass doors to the sanctuary, when I heard a loud "WELCOME FRIEND!" I didn't know where it came from, and assumed it was directed to someone else, since I knew nobody there. I was on the left side of three double doors and on the far right side, some 25 feet away, was a young man who waved to get my attention, and then struggled through the crowd (he has muscular dystrophy) and as best he could he ran to catch up and shake my hand, and again say "Welcome Friend". He said my name is Vaughn, and it is great to see you here today.

And the next week, it happened all over again. And it seemed that I could not enter the church with Vaughn greeting me with his constant smile and glow of the Holy Spirit.

I once asked Vaughn, as we later became friends, why he picked me out to welcome me. He said, I didn't, God said Welcome them all, and there you were!

Needless to say that went a long way towards my making that my home Church.

As an evangelist, I meet a lot of Pastors, and receive numerous request to attend their services. In far too many cases, I find a pastor who wants to tell his parishioners what he thinks, and not what God thinks! In a few, fortunately, very rare occurrences, my spirit was so grieved, that I couldn't even stay though the entire service.

Some people think that talking in tongues is a sign that you are spirit filled. In some cases, it may be. But in most cases, it is just someone seeking to elevate themselves in the eyes of their peers.

Find a solid Bible Teaching church, where the pastor is a servant, and leads in service and not in opinions.

God Bless and I wish the best. A good Church can be like a filling station for your spirit! And a vehicle to channel your praises and worship to God in combination with a community of other servants of God.

Brother David
aka Doctor Cognos
The Doctor Knows.....
MagicMason
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Hello Steven. Greetings from Vienna Austria. I wonder if you have been able to find a church since your first post some months ago? I didn't catch the city you live in but most certainly there are a lot of churches to choose from. I am probably echoing a lot of other posts here but I would say look for a church where you can be fed God's Word. Secondly where you can connect with other believers in a small group for deepening your relationship with God and with God's people. But also look for a church where you can eventually serve. All input with out any output can easily cause spiritual indigestion!
Best wishes to you in Christ
Tom
Vlad_77
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The following is a true story.

When I was living in the US and working for Penn State University a woman had been coming to our church's inquirer's classes. These are informal sessions held once per week where a bunch of people get together with the priest and talk about the Faith and ask questions. This woman was a Quaker and in time, had converted to Orthodox Christianity. Her husband however was absolutely adamant that the she return to the Society of Friends. She literally had to sneak out to Divine Liturgy on Sundays. It was a real strain on their marriage needless to say.

Fast forward a few months and her husband had to take a business trip to Chicago. Call in coincidence, or God's Will, etc., but right next to the hotel was an Orthodox Christian church. He told us (after the fact obviously) that the presence of the church next to his hotel was bugging him, but, he also felt something pulling him there. The first evening after his work he walked to the church but the door was locked. He went back to his room and said he started to feel a little anguish. The following day - a Saturday - was even busier at his work. He got back at the hotel and as he was going into the hotel he heard what sounded like chanting. He said that he rushed up to his room to change because he wanted to see what all this was about. By the time he made it back over to the church, again the doors were locked. He said that there now was an urgency and all of that night he couldn't sleep. He felt both agitated and simultaneously a yearning. He said he spent that night looking over at that church; something it seemed called to him.

He knew that Divine Liturgy was the next morning - a Sunday. He walked over and the doors were open. (How fitting - the third day)! He walked in and he said that in that instant, the urgency had been replaced by calm and the yearning was fulfilled. He became Orthodox the following year.

Now, I only mention Orthodoxy because of the way our services run, not to convince you to seek your home in my church. What I AM trying to convey is this: you are feeling that same sense of yearning and a growing urgency. You are not Home. When we are away from our Loving God, we are not fully human. Remember the Prodigal Son parable? The son pretty much surrendered his birthright and the subsequent life he led was such that he was eating with the pigs; he was not living a human life. But, his father welcomed him home, embraced him, clothed him in rich raiment.

Our Father awaits you at His table. You have begun your journey as we all have; we are all prodigal sons and daughters so never berate yourself, rather, keep walking Homeward, He is waiting to embrace you as His son - and best of all, even though you have not come Home yet, your are STILL His son and oh how He loves you! Smile

Humbly in Christ,
Vlad
Mike Maturen
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I second what Vlad has said...Jesus is calling you to His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Heed His call.
Mike Maturen
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Danny Kazam
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I can't add anything but only emphasise what Vlad said in his first post. This is between you and God. First, if you haven't already, pour yourself before God, surrender everything to Him. Get back into reading His Word, and open communication through prayer. God will take care of eveything else. Including what people He wants you to fellowship and worship with. Sometimes God puts us in certain places or churches to reach someone, or vise versa. Whereever you end up, I pray it's where God wants you to be and not where you think you should be. Peace.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2013-09-21 19:45, Steven True wrote:
I want to thank you all for your encouraging words. I have let myself down by staying out of church for so long. I actually was in Bible College back in the 80' studying to become a pastor. I let my eyes and heart drift away from God and stumbled down a road of addiction and sin. I slowly realized what I was doing to myself and my family and found my way back to God. He never left me I left Him. I was involved in children's ministry and things were going quite good. There was an event in my life that really made me question God once more. It was a divorce, not of my choosing, and I let my mind take over again and blocked out any attempt at a true walk with God. I have recently been in prayer and reading the bible again and feeling God saying that, "I never left I have been here the whole time". I am now looking, as I have stated, for the right fellowship with others that are open and loving to someone that was broken but has had God's glue to put me back together. Every thing that you all have said is a real blessing and a great help in my search for a church home. I again thatnk you for your words and know that even here at the Café' one can find God.

Blessings to you all

Steven


Hi Steven,

You mentioned that "even here at the Café, one can find God." Remember my brother, He is everywhere. Please allow me a quick story?

I was married to an absolutely beautiful and creative woman. She was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and had to deal with a lot of BS from those ... people. In time she converted to Christianity and oh how she flourished! But, she would occasionally tell me stories of what is was like to grow up in a belief system that was bereft of joy; of being berated an an eight year old for not knocking on enough doors and other difficulties that JW kids face. Her mother however remained so very tied to that organization. One Easter she actually asked me why we celebrate the birthday of someone who was "just a man." I have to tell you that I have a bit of a temper and it took all I had not to lose it. I tried to explain compassionately and rationally, but, to no avail. She later came to live with us, and despite pleadings from our priest that if such would happen, our marriage would end within nine months. Well, priests are crystal ball scryers but it's almost as if Father Paul did have a crystal ball; our strong marriage was eroded in nine months and I saw this beautiful woman descend slowly toward that blackness again.

I still do love her and at the time, after a few months of healing, I decided I had to go to a JW Kingdom Hall to see what it was all about. I had studied groups like them - those who use the language of Christianity but are not Christian. So, on a December evening on a Wednesday, I went to one of their services - if indeed one can call such a gathering a "service" for NO worship took place. I watched as the "elder" would ask canned questions; questions that were in lock step not with the teachings of Christ our True God, but rather, the teachings of those people who head the organization in Brooklyn. The people had these little books and were feverishly underlining passages in these little books and all in all it felt like some perverted version of a college seminar gone horribly wrong. Messages were not about the Good News, but about meeting monthly door knocking quotas which the JWs call "pioneering."

I looked around that building and watched the children especially. I remembered that the JWs refuse to allow children to celebrate birthdays, to celebrate the Birth of our Lord, to receive life saving medical procedures. There was a sinister darkness there Steven. Did you ever encounter a situation in which you felt you were in the presence of something so dark that you felt helpless to stop the dying of the light? I felt that as keenly as I feel my own heart beat! Then a little voice inside me said, "you have seen enough, now you leave this place." As I was leaving I was uttering one of the most holy of prayers as I went to my car. I sat there on that cold night so shaken by what I had seen that I didn't even turn on my car. I just sat there and asked myself whether the True God was there in that place of darkness and deceit.

I asked my priest and he said that even in the darkness, God is there, always. Now, fast forward a bit more and I meet another girl. Guess what? She is a Jehovah's Witness! She was recently disfellowshipped but still was directionless and still the terrors of what they taught plagued her soul. They teach for instance that in churches there are demons hiding behind the altar and other places waiting to rend people apart. One evening close to Christmas, she said, "you know, I've always wanted to be in a Christian church on Christmas Eve. Do you think we could go to church this Christmas Eve? Will you promise to protect me there?" I was both overjoyed at her desire to be in the Lord's House to celebrate the joy of His birth and simultaneously felt the same grief for her as I did all of those people in that black place.

Well, we went to Christmas Eve Vespers and Divine Liturgy. For the first hour she looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights, then, it got worse: she began to cry and you could see that she was truly terrified of demons. Many in the congregation consoled her and she stayed through it. Then I was in for a shock. After Divine Liturgy was over, we were talking outside in the narthex (foyer) of the church. I asked her if she was alright. She looked at me and said, "do you know what it's like to be in the presence of the Truth and not know what to do with it?" She said it was as if a bright light had revealed all the lies! WOW!!! A year later she was baptized and chrismated a Christian. She is happily married now to a Christian and her life has been so very uplifted. God our Father taught us both life lessons about darkness, light, and His Presence on two occasions. He was and is everywhere and always.

God be praised for His mercy and His love for His children!! He never deserts us. Smile

Vlad
Mike Maturen
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Praise be to our God, Vlad!
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
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mikematuren@gmail.com

AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

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Danny Kazam
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Confused yet Steve? Smile

Church is not an institution, and although I myself have said there is no perfect church I want you to know that what I mean is that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. You don't need to know what church I go to, and I don't need to tell you about my church because if you put God first in your life, pray to Him, study and meditate on scripture, God will direct you to the people He feels is best for you, and for them. Those people will obviously meet regularily in a building as a group.

Look past the labels and look for these 7 things. Don't search for them. Let God move and direct you. Do they support the authority and inerrancy of the Bible? Is it a place that encourages you to worship God, a place that will support and encourage you to grow closer to God through discipleship, a place that teaches sound doctrine (“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4-6), a place where you share some common interrests with others in fellowship, a place where the Preacher/Priest/Minister preacher’s authority that begins and ends with Scripture, a place where they teach you and encourage you how to present the good news of Jesus freely, and trusting God to convert people? If yes, I think it's a safe bet that you are where God wants you to be.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
robvh
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Hi Steven,

Thank you for sharing your story. How wonderful that you're heeding God's call!

I am a faithful Roman Catholic and I must say I wouldn't want it any other way.

I have many friends from Protestant denominations and have attended their services and participated in non-denominational Bible studies and fellowship groups. I've learned and researched a lot about Protestantism, doctrine, and Church history. I've found it to be the case that Protestants have often been taught untruths about the Catholic Church (we worship idols is a common but ridiculous one). Sometimes it's not that they have been taught untruths but that they haven't been exposed to the WHOLE truth of the Bible and of the Catholic faith.

If they knew the truth, they'd all be Catholic. I don't mean that to sound arrogant. The truth has nothing to do with me; it simply is what it is. I consider myself lucky to be Catholic.

It has been suggested that denominations don't matter and perhaps that's true if you're only weighing various Protestant denominations. But there are significant and crucial differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Martin Luther sparked the break from the Catholic Church nearly fifteen centuries after it was founded on and by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It has since divided into tens of thousands of different denominations. You divide something when you want to conquer it, not when you want it to be strong.

If you want the FULLNESS of the faith, including the sacraments Jesus gave to His followers through His apostles, then I propose there's really only one choice. Come home to the Catholic Church. I make that invitation to all people! The Church can always use more faithful Christians and many Protestants I admire for their ability to foster community (like Vaughn, for example).

I've studied quite extensively and can point you to good resources if you have questions. God will indeed guide you, as some have suggested, to the right church for you. God works through His people though and that's why I welcome you, as Mike has, to contact me any time. We can communicate freely and confidentially via email, phone, Skype... whatever suits you.

God bless,
Rob
Steven True
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First let me say again, thank you all for your wonderful and extremely helpful and guiding words of encouragement. Everyone here has gone above and beyond any help that I could have imagined. No one at any time has been trying to force their beliefs or their particular denomination on me, and for that I truly thank you. I really did not know that the response would be as much as it has. I have received pm's, emails, and the posts here. God has been moving in my life using all of the helpful things all of you have said. Satan was using a great fear within me to keep me from going to Church. I have been looking and I think I might have found a nice Church to go to. My first day will be this Sunday.

Vlad my brother, you have said so many things that have touched my heart and soul. The last post about your friends that attended the JW gatherings are just heart breaking. I am so glad that God moved in the heart of the last lady that you spoke of. Praise God that he showed her the REAL Truth. God is always there for us, as I am finding out through prayer and study. You have been invaluable to me here. I do hope that God will move in me as I see Him moving in you.

Danny you asked if I was confused yet. That was the original reason I posted, but through your help along with so many others I see things so much clearer now then I have in years. I know that an actual Church building is just that, a building. The ones that gather there are the ones that bring the labels. I went through the label thing a long time ago and man did I get really lost in so many different ideas and beliefs. The sevens things you said to look for is so right on the spot and thank you .

Rob you will be hearing from me soon also as will a number of people that have responded. Thank you for your offer of helping me with resources.

As a matter of fact I want to thank you all for the offers of help with resources. So much information and so much help. I promise I will respond to all. I do not have the internet at home right now so I take my laptop to the library and use their wifi so it takes me a while to get back to everyone. With out sounding so repetitive I will say thank you all again. You are truly brothers and sisters in Christ.

In Hi Holy Name

Steven
Vlad_77
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Steven,

I am overjoyed that this Sunday you will walk again into a temple of our Lord! Take joy in the fact brother that He knew the count of every hair on your head before He created this universe. Smile

He is moving in you, and like a patient parent, He allows us to err, such is His love that even when His children dent Him or place Him aside at times, He loves us.

May this Sunday and everyday of your life be filled with the Joy and Love and Life of our Loving God, though Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit; for to Him alone is due all worhip, honor, and glory, now and forever and unto the ages of ages!

+Humbly in Christ,
Vlad
robvh
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I agree that the response has been fantastic. I look forward to hearing from you, Steven.
katyannmarie
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I'm surprised no one suggested finding out if the church you want to attend actually believes the Bible is true, or says some nice things that you can take or leave on a whim.
The questions I would ask are: Does this church obey the Bible or just read from it? Do they discriminate against anyone? How well do the attenders know their Bibles? How consistent are they with evangelism? church discipline? If they ever say "We don't have the funds for that" that's a big red flag. If they say that, they either believe God is broke, or they themselves have to meet the needs around them. What does the church do with what the attenders have? What is the reputation in the community? Do unbelieves know the church exists? What missionaries do they support? Are all the attenders expected to minister? Interview the kids. Do the kids know the gospel? Do the adults? What do the unbelievers in the community say about the church? If they say, "they are strange people, but they really love those around them," then that church is making an impact on the community. Do the adults know why they believe the Bible? Is there a discrepancy between what they say and what they do? Is it a social club that has no real impact on the members or the community? Are the programs they have effective for anything other than entertainment? Can you cite any differences between what the church does and what any community group does? Are people being saved? Are those who are saved being made into disciples or are they just attenders? Are they really secular humanists with a little religious window dressing?
One last thing, if you hear "no church is perfect" when you ask questions, that's a red flag that says "There is really nothing life changing going on here." No church is perfect, but are they better than they used to be? How can that be measured concretely? If it can't, it's a waste of your time. You may get more religious, but you won't have any impact on the world around you.
Danny Kazam
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Somebody did mention the important things to look for in a church. Did you read all the posts?


Quote:
On 2013-12-28 17:18, katyannmarie wrote:
I'm surprised no one suggested finding out if the church you want to attend actually believes the Bible is true, or says some nice things that you can take or leave on a whim.
The questions I would ask are: Does this church obey the Bible or just read from it? Do they discriminate against anyone? How well do the attenders know their Bibles? How consistent are they with evangelism? church discipline? If they ever say "We don't have the funds for that" that's a big red flag. If they say that, they either believe God is broke, or they themselves have to meet the needs around them. What does the church do with what the attenders have? What is the reputation in the community? Do unbelieves know the church exists? What missionaries do they support? Are all the attenders expected to minister? Interview the kids. Do the kids know the gospel? Do the adults? What do the unbelievers in the community say about the church? If they say, "they are strange people, but they really love those around them," then that church is making an impact on the community. Do the adults know why they believe the Bible? Is there a discrepancy between what they say and what they do? Is it a social club that has no real impact on the members or the community? Are the programs they have effective for anything other than entertainment? Can you cite any differences between what the church does and what any community group does? Are people being saved? Are those who are saved being made into disciples or are they just attenders? Are they really secular humanists with a little religious window dressing?
One last thing, if you hear "no church is perfect" when you ask questions, that's a red flag that says "There is really nothing life changing going on here." No church is perfect, but are they better than they used to be? How can that be measured concretely? If it can't, it's a waste of your time. You may get more religious, but you won't have any impact on the world around you.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Danny Kazam
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Smile
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
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